How often do you spend the time to get to the true root of a customer’s problem?
So often we instinctively grasp for a known solution. We reach into our standard bag of tricks for a proven product or service when in fact, it may not be what a customer really needs. It may not address his real pain and if that is the case, he probably won’t buy.
So what do we do?
In this video (the entire conversation is worth watching, but this story begins around 38 min.), David Kelley tells a story about a group of students trying to solve a fire problem in Africa. They initially thought they would be working on fire prevention. As they worked to understand the problem, they discovered the real angst came from losing documents in the fires. The students realized they could solve this issue easily by scanning the documents and saving them in the cloud.
I love this story because it gets to the heart of what needs to happen more in the professional service world. We want to solve problems for customers (this is how we get paid), but it works better when we empathize first, reframe the problem and then move on to the solution.
A few concluding thoughts:
- Ask more questions
- Empathize (listen)
- Talk about yourself less
- Work on reframing problems
- Expect to collaborate
- Don’t expect to sell immediately
In case you don’t know David Kelley and Tom Kelley, they are probably two of the most creative thinkers on the planet. They co-founded IDEO (the design and innovation consulting firm that created the first mouse for Apple, the first Treo, the thumbs up/thumbs down button on your Tivo’s remote control, to name a few), have written several books, founded Stanford’s d.school and have accomplished many other things.
This video may change the way you think. Please enjoy: MIT’s Media Lab Conversations Series: IDEO’s David and Tom Kelley